In an emergency ruling on Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to temporarily block the injunction against the abortion pill, known as mifepristone, amid an ongoing legal challenge over its regulatory approval. In an unsigned ruling in Danco Laboratories, LLC v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, et al., a majority of Justices granted an emergency request by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the pill’s manufacturer for a stay of a Texas federal judge’s suspension of the FDA’s approval of the drug until a full appeal of that ruling can be adjudicated. The case is far from over as the matter will move through trial in the District Court.
On April 7, finding in 2000 that the FDA improperly approved mifepristone with “legitimate safety concerns,” U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk suspended the agency’s approval of the drug and blocked the FDA’s subsequent actions to make it widely accessible. He delayed the order from taking effect for one week to give the government time to appeal. The Biden administration immediately appealed asking the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to put a hold on that ruling, which it did, staying the lower court’s FDA approval suspension. However, it left the rest of Judge Kacsmaryk’s order intact.
The Biden administration then went to the U.S. Supreme Court requesting that Judge Kacsmaryk’s order be entirely stopped to preserve the status quo while the government’s full appeal continues in the Fifth Circuit. Due to the issue’s urgency, Justice Samuel Alito, who oversees matters pertaining to the Fifth Circuit, kept Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling on hold until the full High Court could issue a ruling. The Justices ultimately decided to halt Judge Kacsmaryk’s decision and keep the status quo as the case proceeds through the Appeals Court, and possibly to SCOTUS on full appeal.
Justices Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented. Justice Thomas would deny the government’s request for a stay. In the four-page opinion, Justice Samuel Alito stated his dissent is not a reflection of any particular view on the merits of FDA’s mifepristone actions. However, he wrote: “At present, the applicants are not entitled to a stay because they have not shown that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the interim.” Justice Alito noted that the Fifth Circuit has fast-tracked the appeal.
The Biden administration argued in its petition to SCOTUS that “unprecedented lower court orders countermanding FDA’s scientific judgment” would unleash “regulatory chaos” by making all mifepristone on the market now mislabeled and unapproved.
The Fifth Circuit has accelerated the schedule for this case and will hear arguments on May 17. If petitioned to U.S. Supreme Court, the case would go through the formal hearing process. No deadline has been set for any decisions in the case.
Mifepristone slowly starves the baby to death over one to two days, and then misoprostol induces labor and causes severe cramping, contractions, and bleeding to expel the baby from the womb. Chemical abortions currently account for more than half of all abortions in the U.S., according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Regrettably, the U.S. Supreme Court has chosen to maintain the status quo by keeping a highly questionable and harmful drug on the market. Chemical abortions harm women and cruelly kill defenseless children in the womb. The courts need to hold the FDA accountable for its politically motivated actions.”